By Allen Hibner: As of Friday, March 25th, 2022, with the installation of our new Whirlpool electric heat-pump clothes dryer, the Hibner household became ALL-ELECTRIC and 100% decarbonized in its daily energy usage within our 1950’s ranch home in Penfield.
The image above points to the 10 areas of your home that can be electrified over time to reach your own milestone of being able to say that you are all-electric and fully decarbonized. I’d like to take you through, in words and pictures in this article, the steps that the Hibner household has completed to be able to make the claim stated above. So, let’s get to work…
If you have read almost any of the blog articles I’ve written in my, “ALL-ELECTRIC Life” blog series, by now you’ve picked up on the mantra I espouse for electrifying everything in your home. It’s really simple and it goes like this:
“When it’s time to replace your; gasoline powered car, gas stove, gas (or oil) furnace, gas dryer or gas hot water heater, replace these fossil fuel powered machines with an efficient, all-electric alternative.” (Note: gas can be either natural gas or propane gas powered appliances)
If you then power all of these new electric machines with 100% clean, renewable electricity, you will have reached your goal as we have done in our household. Let’s go through all 10 of the ways (shown above) to electrify your home and take a look at what the Hibner family has done so far.
Spoiler Alert: The Hibner’s have completed steps 1-8 out of the 10 total steps noted above. We have not installed rooftop solar panels (#9) or home battery storage (#10) to-date.
Why? Several trees that shade our roof and a north-south roof alignment make rooftop solar a less than optimum solution for our home. Having said that, it is my contention that successfully completing steps #1-8 does qualify us to be able to claim that our home, in its daily energy usage, is all-electric and 100% decarbonized. See if you agree.
Let’s examine all 8 steps that the Hibner’s have taken to electrify everything in their home in more detail right now…
Step #1 – Purchase Renewable Energy:
Penfield’s Community Choice Aggregation program offers an optional choice that anyone can join called, “Penfield 100.” The Hibner family DID Opt Up to that program, and on March 25th, 2022, we received our first billing (see below) demonstrating that we are now enrolled in that program. Here’s the deal gentle readers, Penfield 100 offers a FIXED RATE of 6.443 cents/kWh for the next two years! As of 4/9/2022, RG&E’s variable supply rate average for the prior 30 days was 7.022 cents/kWh. What’s not to like? You can have your cake and eat it too! If you believe that RG&E’s variable rate will be heading back down to the low 3-5 cents/kWh of prior years, good luck with that. Rising natural gas and oil prices used to generate electricity will probably keep the RG&E variable rate high for the foreseeable future due to difficult global market circumstances. The Penfield 100 program provides two years of fixed rate 100% clean, renewable low impact hydroelectricity to your home at a lower rate right now than RG&E’s standard “dirty or brown” mix of electricity; a good percentage of it generated from burning fossil fuels. The Hibner’s are all-in on the Penfield 100 plan. You should be too!
Click here to Opt-Up to Penfield 100 NOW:
Step #1 – Purchase Renewable Energy – Conclusion?
CHECK/COMPLETE – Step #1 is in the bag…
Step #2 – Electrical Service:
Upgrading your electrical panel to 200-amp service makes a lot of sense since you will be using a lot more electricity to power so many new devices. The Hibner’s have an EV and an EV charging station that draws up to 7,000 watts for hours at a time. Adding in 4 new heat pump devices (more on what they are later) means an even larger draw on our electrical service.
For all of the above reasons (see image below) we decided to upgrade our panel to 200-amp service and install a whole house surge protector to support our evolving all-electric home.
By now, I’m sure that you have noticed that we also installed a 22-kW backup natural gas generator at the same time we had the panel upgraded. So, you might ask the natural question of how the Hibner family can claim to be 100% decarbonized? Simple; our claim is only for “day-to-day” energy usage NOT including fairly rare and intermittent power blackouts! When/if the power is knocked out (and that may happen more frequently into the future due to increasing severity of wind/blizzard/ice storms from the effects of climate change) we want to be able to live in our home comfortably during that outage. We make no apologies for this. We are both retired, in our 70’s and aging in place. This is insurance that we can remain comfortable in our home at all times. We hope we don’t need to use our natural gas backup system often, but it is nice to know it is there. If we could benefit from solar panels and backup batteries (Steps #9 & 10 above) we would choose that direction. Unfortunately, it is not a viable option in this home. If we were building a net-zero home from scratch, solar panels and backup battery systems would be specified in the plans from minute one.
Step #2 – Electrical Service – Conclusion?
CHECK/COMPLETE – Step #2 is in the bag…
Steps #3 & 4 – Heat Pump Systems for Space Heating &Cooling + Hot Water:
We have installed TWO heat pump systems to heat and cool our home: an air-source mini-split on-wall system (see first picture below) in our lower-level in-law apartment (700 sq. ft.) and a ground source heat pump (geothermal) system (see second picture below) for heating and cooling our upper-level living area (1,500 sq. ft.). We also had a heat pump hot water heater installed along with the geothermal system.
So how has our new geothermal heat pump system performed since it was installed in April 2021? Over the past 11 months, our WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump is costing us on average, $39.66/month to heat and cool the main living area of our home (upper level = 1,500 sq. ft.) to a very comfortable level (see image below). We average paying $.13/kWh hour for our electricity and with fixed price, 100% renewable electricity until December 2023, we are secure in knowing that our extremely efficient heat pump system will be saving us lots of money to heat and cool our home as compared to natural gas fired furnaces and traditional 1-way A/C systems (they cool only – NOT a heat pump!). It’s a good feeling. It’s a good place to be in. It’s the future for everyone…
Steps #3 & 4 – Heat Pump Systems for Space Heating &Cooling + Hot Water: CHECK/COMPLETE – Steps #3 & 4 are in the bag…
Step #5 – Electric Cooking:
We do NOT have a gas stove! Yes, we DO have an electric stove. It’s not a fancy induction type electric stove but it certainly gets the job done with nary a cubic foot of natural gas to be found! Oh yeah, there’s an electric microwave oven too.
Step #5 – Electric Cooking – Conclusion?
CHECK/COMPLETE – Step #5 is in the bag…
Step #6 – Electric Clothes Dryer:
We have a wonderful story to tell here. As I mentioned in the first sentence of this article, our Whirlpool electric hybrid heat pump dryer was installed on March 25th, 2022, replacing our natural gas dryer. This was the final piece of our ALL-ELECTRIC Life puzzle. Not many American households have one of these babies!
Take a look at this unit:
I do most of the laundry in our household and I find that, while the loads take a little bit longer to dry (on average about 1 hour & 45 minutes or so), they come out very, very nice. AS well as or even better than they did with our gas dryer. Since this dryer is “ventless” (no dryer vent to outdoors needed – no more sending little visible clouds of condensed water vapor and waste heat into the cold winter air outside) it does expel a little bit of heat into the laundry room during the dry cycle, but especially in winter that is very welcome since our utility area does not have a dedicated heat duct. Also, since our hot water heater heat pump is in the same utility area, it benefits from the warmer air from the dryer that it can use to heat up the water in the tank even more efficiently. A very nice “closed loop” effect that recovers waste heat from drying our clothes. Remember, the washer uses some amount of hot water supplied by the heat pump water heater. The heat pump dryer heat that escapes can then be immediately recycled by the heat pump water heater as it re-heats water in the tank. Nice! I solidly recommend this type of dryer. Get one if you are able.
Step #6 – Electric Dryer – Conclusion?
CHECK/COMPLETE – Step #6 is in the bag…
Steps #7 & 8 – Electric Vehicle(s) & EV Charger:
In June of 2020, we leased a 2020 Chevy Bolt Premier EV to replace our 2018 Camry Hybrid XLE. If you would like to read more about our first impressions and charging experiences with this EV, click here: Blog - EV Garage | ColorPenfieldGreen
Before we purchased our EV, we had an EV charger installed in our garage. We put in a dedicated 40-amp circuit, and the charger routinely draws 7,000+ watts while charging (240 volts x 32-amp draw) our Bolt. We really enjoy this car and its 259-mile range. Perfect for driving on a single charge to visit the grandkids in Pennsylvania!
Steps #7 & 8 – Electric Vehicle(s) & EV Charger – Conclusion?
CHECK/COMPLETE – Steps #7 & 8 are in the bag…
There you have it! The Hibner family has successfully installed and implemented Steps #1 to 8 as shown again in the image below.
If you would like to learn more about the 10 steps to Electrify Everything in Your Home, I strongly recommend that you download the following excellent e-Book (in PDF form) from the folks at Rewiring America.
Download it here: Electrify Everything in Your Home — Rewiring America
LET’S SAY IT ONE MORE TIME: As of Friday, March 25th, 2022, with the installation of our new Whirlpool electric heat-pump clothes dryer, the Hibner household became ALL-ELECTRIC and 100% decarbonized in its daily energy usage within our 1950’s ranch home in Penfield. It has taken us a few years to accomplish this milestone, but it has been worth every moment of the journey!
We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed seeing and learning about our process to obtaining an ALL-ELECTRIC Life and that you are inspired to take some or all of the 10 action steps detailed above for your own home and in your own electric life! If we are to create a more livable world for our children, grandchildren and indeed, all generations to come, these 10 actions are what all of must take in our own lives to reverse global warming – one home at a time.
Thank you so much for reading this blog article and please pass the blog article link onto other friends and family members if you found it to be valuable.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHY YOU SHOULD DO THIS TOO?
Watch this excellent YouTube video from Saul Griffith & Rewiring America called, “Decarbonizing Your Home.”